By Adedapo Adesanya
Crude prices dropped more than one per cent on Wednesday as the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an increase of 8.5 million barrels in stockpiles last week.
Brent crude lost 1.17 per cent or $1.26 to sell at $106.30 per barrel while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) depreciated by 1.14 per cent or $1.21 to trade at $104.50 per barrel.
US crude stocks, according to the EIA, rose due to another large release from strategic reserves compared with an inventory build of 1.3 million barrels estimated for the previous week, which provided a brief relief for prices.
Commercial crude inventories have been growing as the White House has elected to flood the market with oil to offset the rise in prices.
This offset other bullish news like supply concerns as flows of Russian gas to Europe fell and the European Union (EU) worked on gaining support for a Russian oil embargo.
Russian gas flows to Europe via Ukraine fell by 25 per cent after Ukraine halted the use of a major transit route, blaming interference by occupying Russian forces. It was the first time exports via Ukraine have been disrupted since the invasion.
Russia’s state-controlled energy giant Gazprom, which has a monopoly on the country’s gas exports by pipeline, said it was still shipping gas to Europe via Ukraine, but volumes were seen at 72 million cubic meters on May 11, down from 95.8 million cubic meters the previous day.
The EU is scrambling to reduce its reliance on Russian energy supplies, but it has stopped short so far from imposing sanctions on crucial gas flows.
The European bloc had proposed an embargo on Russian oil, which analysts say would further tighten the market and shift trade flows.
The EU Commission has delayed acting on the proposal as it will need all the approval of the 27 members before it can fully implement that plan but Hungary has dug in its heels in opposition.
This is happening even as the commission plans to offer Hungary and two other nations that have so far objected to the embargo more money to upgrade oil infrastructure.
Oil was supported by hopes of Chinese economic stimulus after China’s factory-gate inflation eased and investors took comfort in signs of lower domestic COVID-19 infections.
Chinese adherence to a zero-COVID strategy, as many other countries loosen restrictions and try to live with the virus, is exacting a growing economic and human cost. Increasingly extreme measures have been required to bring outbreaks under control because the omicron variant spreads so easily.
NNPC, Sahara Group Invest $300m to ‘Circulate’ Clean Energy in Africa
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and leading energy and infrastructure conglomerate, Sahara Group, have taken delivery of two 23,000 CBM Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vessels.
The delivery happened on Monday at the Hyundai MIPO Shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, with plans to add 10 vessels in 10 years to enhance Africa’s transition to cleaner fuels.
The new vessels, MT BARUMK and MT SAPET have increased NNPC and Sahara Group’s joint venture investment to over $300 million, approaching the JV’s $1 billion gas infrastructure commitment by 2026.
The fleet previously comprised MT Sahara Gas and MT Africa Gas. All four vessels were built by Hyundai MIPO Dockyard, a foremost global manufacturer of mid-sized carriers.
WAGL Energy Limited, the JV company between NNPC and Oceanbed (a Sahara Group Company) is driving NNPC’s five-year $1 billion investment plan announced in 2021 to accelerate the decade of Gas and Energy transition agenda over the period.
Speaking on this, NNPC’s GMD, Mr Mele Kyari disclosed that the order of three additional new vessels was being finalised, adding that “we have a target of delivering 10 vessels over the next 10 years. The NNPC and our partners stand out with integrity in our energy transition quest and our commitment to environmental sustainability is unwavering.”
MT BARUMK and MT SAPET are WAGL and Sahara Group’s injections into the JV. WAGL is shoring up its gas fleet and terminal infrastructure, while Sahara Group continues to make remarkable progress in the construction of over 120,000 metric tonnes of storage facilities in 11 African countries, including Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, and Zambia, among others.
Mr Kyari also said the vessels were critical to driving the Federal Government’s commitment to the domestication of gas in Nigeria through several initiatives and increasing seamless supply in compliance with the mandate of President Muhammad Buhari.
The initiatives – the LPG Penetration Framework and LPG Expansion Plan are geared towards encouraging the use of gas in households, power Generation, auto-gas and industrial applications in order to attain 5 Million Metric tonnes of LPG consumption by 2025.
“This is another epoch-making achievement for the NNPC and Sahara Group, and we remain firmly committed to delivering more formidable gas projects for the benefit of Nigeria and the entire sub-region,” Mr Kyari said.
On his part, Mr Temitope Shonubi, Executive Director, Sahara Group, said: “WAGL has successfully operated two mid-sized LPG Carriers MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas in the region in keeping with global standards, delivering over 6 million CBM of LPG across West Africa. With the new vessels, we are set to promote and lead Africa’s march towards energy transition.”
Mr Ali Magashi, Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Korea who represented the Federal Government, noted that President Muhammad Buhari deserved commendation for the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which he said would reposition the NNPC to explore more projects with partners like Sahara Group.
BARUMK was derived from the combination of the name and initials of the late NNPC GMD, Dr Maikanti K. Baru, in fond memory of his immense support for the Gas development in Nigeria. “SAPET” is named after the Sahara – Petroci (the Ivorian National Oil Company) JV LPG Company (SAPET Energy SA.), currently constructing phase one of a 12,000MT LPG storage facility in Abidjan, with expansion plans to achieve 30,000MT in phase two. The JV emerged from WAGL’s trading relationship with PETROCI, dating back to 2014.
LPG is the fastest-growing petroleum product in sub-Sahara Africa over the last decade, with forecasts indicating that LPG will grow at a 7 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the next 15 years.
Increased uptake of LPG will reduce net Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and pressure on forest reserves, thereby increasing environmental sustainability.
Nigeria’s GDP Grows 3.11% in Q1 2022 Amid Lower Economic Activity
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday said the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria in the first quarter of 2022 increased by 3.11 per cent on a year-to-year basis in real terms amid lower economic activity, according to the stats office.
In the same period of last year, the GDP stood at 2.60 per cent, 0.51 per cent lower than the figures in Q1 2022 and when compared with the preceding quarter, which was the fourth quarter of 2021 at 3.98 per cent, the current GDP is 0.88 per cent lower.
However, the country’s economy is recording positive growth for the sixth consecutive quarter since the recession witnessed in 2020 when negative growth rates were recorded in the second and third quarters.
In the quarter under review, aggregate GDP stood at N45,317,823.33 million in nominal terms, higher than the N40,014,482.74 million recorded in the first quarter of 2021, indicating a year-on-year nominal growth rate of 13.25 per cent.
According to the NBS, the nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2022 was higher relative to the 12.25 per cent growth recorded in the first quarter of 2021 and higher compared to the 13.11 per cent growth recorded in the preceding quarter.
Further analysis indicated that the oil sector contributed 6.63 per cent to the total real GDP in Q1 2022, down from the figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2021 and up compared to the preceding quarter, where it contributed 9.25 per cent and 5.19 per cent respectively.
In the first three months of this year, the real growth of the sector was –26.04 per cent (year-on-year), a decrease of 23.83 per cent compared with the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2021. Growth decreased by 17.99 per cent points when compared to Q4 2021 which was –8.06 per cent and on a quarter-on-quarter basis, it recorded a growth rate of 9.11 per cent in Q1 2022.
In the period under consideration, the average daily oil production of Nigeria was 1.49 million barrels per day (mbpd), lower than the daily average production of 1.72mbpd recorded in the same quarter of 2021 by 0.23mbpd and lower than the fourth quarter of 2021 production volume of 1.50mbpd by 0.01mbpd.
As for the non-oil sector, it contributed 93.37 per cent to the nation’s GDP in the first quarter of 2022, higher than the share recorded in the first quarter of 2021 which was 90.75 per cent and lower than the fourth quarter of 2021 recorded as 94.81 per cent.
In Q1 2022, the non-oil sector grew by 6.08 per cent in real terms, higher by 5.28 per cent points compared to the rate recorded same quarter of 2021 and 1.34 per cent points higher than the fourth quarter of 2021.
This sector was driven in the first quarter of 2022 mainly by Information and Communication (Telecommunication); Trade; Financial and Insurance (Financial Institutions); Agriculture (Crop Production); and Manufacturing (Food, Beverage & Tobacco).
Emefiele, Others Meet to Discuss Nigeria’s Monetary Policies
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, is having a meeting with key members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in Abuja to deliberate on the way forward for Nigeria in terms of monetary policies.
The meeting, which started on Monday, May 23, 2022 (today), is taking place at the MPC Meeting Room, 11th Floor, CBN Headquarters, Abuja. It will conclude tomorrow after which Mr Emefiele will address the press on the outcome of the gathering.
It will be the first MPC meeting the apex bank chief is presiding over since his alleged presidential ambition became a very hot issue and his competence put under question.
As the CBN governor, he is not expected to belong to any political party but a few weeks ago, this was in doubt after it was reported that a group comprising rice farmers purchased the N100 million presidential forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for him.
There were calls later for his resignation to enable him to contest the 2023 polls but he declined and filed a suit in court to allow him to participate in the election without quitting his position.
Amid these controversies, some have wondered if Mr Emefiele will still be able to play his role as the CBN chief without political interference, especially at a time the macroeconomic environment is not friendly to many Nigerians.
At the MPC meeting, members will weigh the different parameters and make a decision on whether to retain the benchmark rate at 11.50 per cent and slightly tilt it. This would be revealed on Tuesday when Mr Emefiele is expected to address newsmen.
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